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Woman Kicked Off Flight After Accusing Pilot of Drinking
NBC Los Angeles ^ | 8-3-10 | TARA WALLIS-FINESTONE

Posted on 08/04/2010 8:49:31 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed

A Toluca Lake woman was recently kicked off a Delta Airlines flight after reporting that she thought she had smelled alcohol on the captain's breath.

Cynthia Angel said the incident occurred on July 19 as she was trying to travel home to Southern California from Georgia. She had just spent two weeks visiting her son, an actor, who was shooting a movie near Atlanta.

Angel, 51, said the trouble occurred after she and three other passengers had a brief conversation with one of the pilots of Delta Airlines Flight 2355. She learned later that the pilot was actually the captain of the flight.

"The flight had been delayed almost an hour," said Angel. "We were in the jetway waiting to get on the flight when the pilot walked by us and I jokingly said, 'Boy you had been here a long time.'"

Angel said the captain spoke to her and the three other passengers. After he walked away, said Angel, another passenger asked if they had smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath.

"A gentleman standing behind me asked, 'Did anyone smell that? It smelled a little like vodka,'" said Angel. "We all agreed that he did smell alcohol, but we didn't know if he had been drinking or what we should do about it."

Angel said she volunteered to talk with the head flight attendant once aboard the plane.

"I told her that I didn't know what protocol is, but I believe I smelled alcohol on one of the pilots' breath," said Angel.

Angel said the flight attendant immediately talked to another pilot who was in the cockpit getting ready for departure.

"He asked me to come inside the cockpit, where he shut the door and asked me about my conversation with the pilot in the jetway," said Angel. "I told him what I had told the flight attendant; that other passengers and I thought we had smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath."

Angel said the pilot informed her that it was the captain of the flight who spoke with her. He assured her that the captain had not been drinking.

"He said he had been with the captain for several hours before the flight," said Angel. "I was satisfied with the pilot's explanation, thanked him and returned to my seat."

But Angel said that 20 minutes later, a Delta Airlines manager came aboard the flight and asked her to follow him off the plane.

"The manager wanted to hear what I had told the flight attendant," said Angel. "He then told me the captain took a test that proved he did not have anything to drink."

Angel said the manager then thanked her and she returned to her seat on the plane. At this point, she thought it was over.

"About 20 minutes later, the Delta manager returned with a female colleague and they asked me to gather my belongings and follow them off the flight," said Angel. "I was so embarrassed."

Angel said she followed them back into the airport. She was lead into a nearby office where she was told again that the pilot had tested negatively for alcohol.

"They told me they take these accusations very seriously and that the captain and his crew did not want me on his flight," said Angel.

Angel said Delta gave her meal and hotel vouchers, and said she could come back in the morning to take another flight back to Los Angeles.

"All I did was voice my concerns," said Angel. "I wasn't a threat to anyone and for them to remove me was wrong."

"I understand airlines have to have protocol," said Mark Silverman, Angel's Beverly Hills-based attorney who Angel contacted to look into the incident.

Silverman said his office has called and written Delta Airlines for a response and to ask the airline to open an investigation into the incident.

"She was just trying to be a good citizen. You'd think Delta would thank her for her concern," he said.

NBCLA also contacted Delta Airlines for comment. Susan Elliott from Delta's corporate communications office sent this response via e-mail: "Once we have reviewed Mrs. Angel's letter and investigated her claims, we will follow-up with her on our findings."

"Making drinking accusations against pilots is a serious matter," said Ross Aimer, CEO of Aviation Experts, LLC.

"If you think someone is drunk, you owe it to yourself, your loved ones and other passengers to report it," said Aimer, who is also a retired United Airlines captain. "However, in this case, because the captain had not been drinking, Delta made the right decision by asking her to leave the plane."

Aimer explains that in situations like this, flights usually end up delayed or canceled because the captain will take himself off the flight.

"It's an either you or me situation," said Aimer. "She had to go because the captain has his crew and hundreds of other passengers to think about."

Aimer adds that if he found himself in a similar situation, he'd do the same thing.

"The issue of pilots and drinking has become a very big deal, and accusations like that could end your career," Aimer said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airlines; delta; drunk; flying; northworst; nwa
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1 posted on 08/04/2010 8:49:32 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed
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To: Beelzebubba

Hand sanitizer, probably.


2 posted on 08/04/2010 8:50:53 AM PDT by Fido969 ("The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein)
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To: Beelzebubba

Vodka does not smell.


3 posted on 08/04/2010 8:53:03 AM PDT by edcoil (Truth's commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed.)
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To: Beelzebubba

I thought you couldn’t smell vodka on breath.


4 posted on 08/04/2010 8:54:07 AM PDT by Shimmer1 (Think. It isn't illegal yet.)
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To: Beelzebubba
Don't you know who I Am?
My son is an actor and I made headlines for him!
5 posted on 08/04/2010 8:54:21 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunham?) Change America Will Die From.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Sounds like the pilot might have a nice slander lawsuit against her, with plenty of witnesses and a breathalizer test to back him up. She would have done better to keep her head down. Seems she was looking for a lawsuit and now she may well fine one. Against her.


6 posted on 08/04/2010 8:56:24 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
My son is an actor and I made headlines for him!

Ding! Ding! Ding!
7 posted on 08/04/2010 8:58:42 AM PDT by crosshairs (Celebrate diversity. Own a variety of firearms.)
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To: Beelzebubba
So this is a problem because?...

I think it would have even be more traumatic for her to be forced into flying the same aircraft. ; )

8 posted on 08/04/2010 8:59:46 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Where Liberty dwells, there is my Country. - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Beelzebubba

“They told me they take these accusations very seriously and that the captain and his crew did not want me on his flight,”

Touche. I wouldn’t want her on my flight either after accusing me of something like that. It would be like having to see a person who screamed rape and then after it was found out that didn’t happen you would have to drive them somewhere. No thanks. There are many other flights to get on.


9 posted on 08/04/2010 9:00:58 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: Beelzebubba

Vodka doesn’t smell.


10 posted on 08/04/2010 9:01:40 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Beelzebubba

"Say Jimmy, you ever had a vodka martini?"

11 posted on 08/04/2010 9:02:16 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Shimmer1; tx_eggman
I thought you couldn’t smell vodka on breath.

Yeah... that's what my ex-mother-in-law thinks, as well...
12 posted on 08/04/2010 9:02:23 AM PDT by SpinnerWebb (In 2012 you will awaken from your HOPEnosis and have no recollection of this... "Constitution")
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To: Beelzebubba

Could’ve even been original Listerene.


13 posted on 08/04/2010 9:03:14 AM PDT by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: Beelzebubba

It’s likely there is more to the story than this.

She may have been making a loud fuss, complaining openly to others about her fears, causing anxiety, and possibly refusing to back down when confronted with evidence.

I bit like shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. She may even believe it herself, but chaos and panic is still the result.


14 posted on 08/04/2010 9:06:08 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: edcoil

“Vodka does not smell.”

True, by itself it doesn’t have a very strong smell, but if someone drinks, they have alcohol breath ... the metabolites from the alcohol give you a really funny smell on your breath. When you start drinking, the alcohol’s being absorbed and being metabolized ... but ketones don’t get metabolized. They’re in your blood, and your blood and your lungs exchange — that’s how you breathe — and these things will come out in your lungs, and you’ll be breathing them for hours. So there’s no way to cover it up and totally fool everybody all the time after a certain point .. the woman might have had an alcoholic in the family ... when you are raised with a vodka drinker, you know what it smells like from a mile away.


15 posted on 08/04/2010 9:08:31 AM PDT by jessduntno (I wonder...how will third Manassas turn out?)
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To: edcoil; Shimmer1; freekitty
Vodka does not smell.

As one who grew up in the household of an alcoholic parent whose main drink was vodka, thinking no one could smell it on his breath, I will assure you that the only one who cannot smell the vodka is likely the one who drank it.

16 posted on 08/04/2010 9:08:43 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (My problem with aging is I tend to forget things. Also, I've found that I tend to forget things.)
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To: Shimmer1

“I thought you couldn’t smell vodka on breath.”

You can’t, unless it’s been drunk within the last minute or so.

Some doctor once told me that you aren’t smelling any particular liquor on someone’s breath, you’re smelling the oxidized alcohol being expelled from his body.

Sounds like someone may be trying to throw a monkey wrench into the works of the airlines by trying a new tactic. (For what reason, who knows.)

IMHO


17 posted on 08/04/2010 9:09:33 AM PDT by ripley
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To: jessduntno
when you are raised with a vodka drinker, you know what it smells like from a mile away.

True 'dat.

18 posted on 08/04/2010 9:10:04 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (My problem with aging is I tend to forget things. Also, I've found that I tend to forget things.)
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To: PGR88
She may have been making a loud fuss, complaining openly to others about her fears, causing anxiety, and possibly refusing to back down when confronted with evidence.

Bah, if I was the captain, I wouldn't want that miserable harpy on my flight either. Does the man now have a report to the FAA that he was suspected of drinking? She threatened his ability to earn a living. Get on a new flight bitch.

19 posted on 08/04/2010 9:12:06 AM PDT by Malsua
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To: Malsua

Just maybe, he had been drinking?


20 posted on 08/04/2010 9:14:03 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: OB1kNOb

LOL at your tagline!


21 posted on 08/04/2010 9:16:42 AM PDT by MaryFromMichigan
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To: Scythian
"Just maybe, he had been drinking?"

In that case she needed to leave the plane anyways so she could take it up with the people who administered the sobriety test to which the Captain voluntarily submitted.

22 posted on 08/04/2010 9:18:29 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Malsua
"I wouldn't want that miserable harpy on my flight either."

How would you like to be married to her? "Where have you been?" "Is that smoke I smell?" "Is that lipstick on your collar?" "Who left the seat up?"

23 posted on 08/04/2010 9:20:13 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Beelzebubba

Does Vodka have an oder?


24 posted on 08/04/2010 9:22:45 AM PDT by Marty62 (marty60)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

How so? Neither the son’s name nor the name of the movie
is mentioned in the story, text or vid.

Mike


25 posted on 08/04/2010 9:31:28 AM PDT by doublecansiter (without cartridge, load in nine times, LOAD!)
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To: Shimmer1; edcoil

I thought you couldn’t smell vodka on breath.


That was a Madison Avenue fabrication. You can smell the ALCOHOL. It’s in the bloodstream, is emitted from the lungs, and is detectable by odor and by breathalyzers.


26 posted on 08/04/2010 9:32:57 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: La Lydia

Sounds like the pilot might have a nice slander lawsuit against her, with plenty of witnesses and a breathalizer test to back him up.


The fact that her impressions were confirmed by others means that she has a powerful defense that she had reason to believe. Keep in mind that she didn’t publicly announce that the pilot was drunk, she privately conveyed it. That’s another reason why she has no liability even if she were wrong.


27 posted on 08/04/2010 9:34:49 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: Beelzebubba

If they can have breath test ignition interlocks for two-bit drunk drivers, why not have them on multi-million-dollar aircraft?


28 posted on 08/04/2010 9:37:07 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Her witnesses? People who she says said they could smell vodka? She slandered him to his co-pilot and his employer. That is enough for liability. He has a nice slander lawsuit against her. The “impressions confirmed by others” is non-germane.


29 posted on 08/04/2010 9:37:46 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: MaryFromMichigan

Thanks. ;-)


30 posted on 08/04/2010 9:45:10 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (My problem with aging is I tend to forget things. Also, I've found that I tend to forget things.)
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To: MaryFromMichigan

Thanks. ;-)


31 posted on 08/04/2010 9:46:04 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (My problem with aging is I tend to forget things. Also, I've found that I tend to forget things.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Well, I agree, I would have never boarded the plain and I would have been at the gate demanding the flight be stopped and the pilot tested.


32 posted on 08/04/2010 9:46:22 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: Shimmer1
Busybodies like her apparently can.

Busy, Busy, Busy.

33 posted on 08/04/2010 9:48:25 AM PDT by Rome2000 (OBAMA IS A COMMUNIST CRYPTO-MUSLIM)
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To: Liberty Valance

So, Ted Striker had a drinking problem and he still landed the plane.

34 posted on 08/04/2010 9:48:30 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Beelzebubba

If the report is accurate, then three different people smelled what seemed like liquor on the pilot’s breath.

Taking punitive action against someone who is trying to do the right thing is wrong.

This is like taking punitive action against a whistle-blower. It causes folks to be fearful about reporting something that could endanger others, or that involves criminality.

If the woman did cause a scene, and wouldn’t accept the results of the test for alcohol, I can see the need to remove her. Otherwise, they should have thanked her and moved on.

Some pilots do drink. It’s a sad reality, and it needs to be reported if suspected.

We don’t know what transpired in the cockpit. We don’t know what story the two pilots agreed on.

I don’t think this woman is the only person who could have been gaming this situation.


35 posted on 08/04/2010 9:50:45 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Latest most accurate Az Poll to date, of 14 likely voters: McCain 137%, Hayworth -37% (+/- 92%))
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To: Malsua

What the Pilot should have done is come back to her seat
shook her hand and said “Well Done”. Had he done that, this
would not even be a story.

By kicking her off the plane, it was the Pilot and the airline
that made this into a story, not her.

Mike


36 posted on 08/04/2010 9:51:07 AM PDT by doublecansiter (without cartridge, load in nine times, LOAD!)
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To: freekitty

Vodka definitely smells. I’ve always thought it funny that people believe that it doesn’t.


37 posted on 08/04/2010 9:55:45 AM PDT by republicangel
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To: Beelzebubba

Should could have easily contacted the FAA and had that flight grounded until the pilot was checked out. The lives of the people on board combined with the number of pilots that do drink means she should have contacted the FAA.


38 posted on 08/04/2010 9:58:38 AM PDT by CodeToad ("Idiocracy" is not just a movie.)
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To: freekitty

“Vodka doesn’t smell.”

Yes, it does. That little urban legend is just that. Alcohol has a smell.


39 posted on 08/04/2010 9:59:24 AM PDT by CodeToad ("Idiocracy" is not just a movie.)
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: La Lydia

She slandered him to his co-pilot and his employer.


You don’t understand the law of defamation. It requires more than merely saying something that is wrong and harmful.


41 posted on 08/04/2010 10:05:14 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: doublecansiter

“What the Pilot should have done is come back to her seat
shook her hand and said “Well Done”. Had he done that, this
would not even be a story.”

Exactly. She now is the one that can sue the airline and Delta Airlines takes a hit. People will only remember that Delta had a drunk pilot and tried to shut a person up for saying so, even if the pilot was not drunk the story will still be remembered that way.


42 posted on 08/04/2010 10:07:34 AM PDT by CodeToad ("Idiocracy" is not just a movie.)
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To: CodeToad

43 posted on 08/04/2010 10:08:39 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Yes, I am just a dumb$hit. Know nothing about the law. Uh huh.


44 posted on 08/04/2010 10:13:49 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: None
This report lacks a fundamental detail, these ladies were talking to this man and they have nothing to report on him besides a suspicion of smell. Clueless housewives, with little or no barstool exp. acting as the 'alcohol police' is whats wrong with this story.

Behaviour along with strong suspicion, not suspicion of smell alone, would lead me to make such a report.
45 posted on 08/04/2010 10:29:41 AM PDT by Sporaticus
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To: La Lydia

Yes, I am just a dumb$hit. Know nothing about the law. Uh huh.


No, but you are way off on the prospects for a defamation action. Ask any qualified lawyer.


46 posted on 08/04/2010 10:31:39 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: La Lydia

“I believe I smelled alcohol on one of the pilots’ breath,””

That is not slander.

“The pilot is a drunk”, would be slander.


47 posted on 08/04/2010 10:43:05 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Political correctness in America today is a Rip Van Winkle acid trip.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Too bad he wasn’t Foster Brooks:-)


48 posted on 08/04/2010 10:44:59 AM PDT by geege
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To: doublecansiter

Accusing an airline pilot of drinking REQUIRES a test, and guarantees a significant delay. There are NUMEROUS other opportunities to catch offenders. When passengers start doing this on their own. you can kiss goodbye ever arriving at your destination. It is the equivalent to saying the wood “bomb.”


49 posted on 08/04/2010 11:21:58 AM PDT by Tzfat
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To: CodeToad

Try that next time you fly.


50 posted on 08/04/2010 11:25:37 AM PDT by Tzfat
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